The Account of a Lifetime

October 19, 2011

Call of C’tan

Filed under: Cogitations,Visions of the future — xisor @ 9:26 pm

In discussion with LordLucan there, I noticed a good ‘description’ of my feeling on matters new-Necronomical.

I suggested that Andy Chamber’s Deus Ex Mechanicus fits neatly with the new ‘shards’ C’tan concept. Or rather, DEM informs the new shard concept in a pretty interesting way, almost as much as it would if it were republished verbatim as if it were written wholly for the new lore.

We, nowadays, have a ‘Shard’ of the Deceiver, rather than the Deceiver itself. LL notes he still thinks he runs the place. I suggest: The Deceiver’s ‘prolific’ magnificence that it claims could be backwards-interpreted as some sense of dispersed self-awareness; knowledge of what other, perhaps non-battlefield, shards are up to. And even if not, why make such claims? Because even as a minuscule shard having escaped some shackles, he’s still the Deceiver, that’s why. And strictly its true. Even if he’s a shard-slave, he can still think he *should* be the master, and thus lie about it.

More than that, the C’tan are still ‘laughing the laughter of thirsting gods’. They probably don’t care about anything else, so are happy enough to just lie and treat their present circumstances as an inconvenience. That could be explicitly contradicted in-Codex, but I’ll wait and see.

LL asked: “also, where does that leave the dark prophecies?”. He hoped the Ousider and Dragon get a mention.

I agree, certainly. LL chooses to think of it as the C’tan are choosing to let the Necron think they conquered them… but I disagree, think about it this way:

  1. The Dyson Sphere – it’s a C’tan Quarry. They chip off bits for private use. They’ve managed to contain/pacify the Outsider. Not hard for an insane god. Well, monumentally difficult, but still; if anyone’s doing it, it’s Necrons!
  2. The Shrouds assaulting Mars? Again, snapping up a ‘fragment’ of the Void Dragon. That’s the whole point of them going there. They can’t move the whole thing, but they can get ‘bits’. Once in, they have a fraction of the power of the Dragon, they don’t need their ships because they can now teleport back to another site of Dragon fragment.

LL goes on to bring up Mechanicum: The book of the dragon that is implied to be ‘made off with’ by Zouche – a C’tan shard. In human (err, “squat machinist”) cultist hands.

LL suggests, perhaps, the Mechanicus as a replacement ‘slave race’ for the Void Dragon? It’s intriguing. Or a ‘gaoler’ race.

Most Importantly

It also, thank Jebus, reinforces my overwhelming objection to “Mechanicum” that Graham McNeill himself poo-pooed : For Graham, the Emperor fought the actual dragon on actual earth. I always thought of it as a distant ‘sleeping tendril’ eking out in a Cthulhu-esque manner. Nowadays, it was a teeny fragment which had techno-magicked its way to Earth. The bulk of the thing was still on Mars, but this bit made it to Earth and fought the Emperor. The Emperor then is free to build the prison around the Dragon any damn well way he likes over the intervening millennia, perhaps with the ball-rolling beginning right there and then.

LL suggests Graham is wrong. He wrote the book, but it is out of his hands now. He has no say in our interpretation. So there. But LL would say that, nerr nerr.

And yet, hell, it can even preserve things like “C’tan domination” era 40k (how soon after beating the Old Ones do the Necrons wait before turning on the C’tan? When, perhaps before beating the Old Ones, did the C’tan turn on one another?) in the time not detailed in the new ‘dex. That mightn’t stand up to scrutiny of the book, of course, but still.

I don’t want to say “The new Necron lore is genius”, because it’s not, but it does seem to be good at patching over (solidly, in my esteem) most of the previous troubles I’ve had with the Necron lore.

I then berated LL for being (literally) prejudiced about the thing before he’d read it. They all had lemonade. The end.


Edit: Also, as Ashendant on Warseer notes – it also accommodates C’tan Phase Weapons: they’re actually tiny shards of C’tan.



  1. Do the shards not work like the Avatar? Of eldar fame.
    Vessels for parts of the whole, used only for their destructive power?
    The C’tans have been essencially lobotomised, because the necrons have split their essence into so many vessels they can never gain true sentience.
    I haven’t read a thing, but this is the impression I got, lol

    Comment by Digital Unicorn — October 19, 2011 @ 10:16 pm | Reply

    • To an extent, yes. It certainly sounds like there’s a cool parallel between the fate of the C’tan and the fate of, at least, Khaine.

      That said, from perusing on Warseer, It looks like the C’tan were largely destroyed when the Necrons turned on them (and the C’tan turned on each other?), where possible. The trouble then is that C’tan can’t be *properly* destroyed, so they pick up the bits and keep ’em separate. Post them to ‘pocket dimensions’ (whatever they are), that sort of thing.

      As for whether they’ve got sentience or not…who knows. The latest bit I saw suggested that it wasn’t indicated whether they were sentient or not, merely that they were…fragmentary. Their minds might be fragmented too, of course! Not the prettiest thing, but even a ‘fragment of a god’ might be sufficient to spin a good, psychologically intimidating yarn as was in Deus Ex Mechanicus! (E.g. even as fragments they might still be fiendishly competent.)

      As a final point, we’ve barely a clue as to the sentience/will of the Eldar gods, let alone that of the C’tan proper! (Sure, we saw the ‘memory’ of the Dragon, the words of the Deceiver and the wrath of the Nightbringer…but all those glimpses seem to fit surprisingly well with this newfangled approach.)

      Comment by xisor — October 20, 2011 @ 12:40 am | Reply

      • Fair enough, I guess we’ll know when we know, lol.

        Also, the greatest mistake of your life was not calling this article, Settlers of C’tan 😛

        Comment by Digital Unicorn — October 20, 2011 @ 9:16 am

      • Quite possibly it is. I liked the C’tan/Cthulhu angle, but Settlers works wonders! I may have to pinch that for a future entry!

        Everyone knows what a C’tan phase sword looks like, right? Famously Japanese in style, no? The C’tan-a?

        Comment by xisor — October 21, 2011 @ 5:08 am

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